EU says Ukraine truce 'insufficient' for peace
European Commission head Jose Manuel Barroso warned yesterday that the Ukrainian ceasefire was not enough to achieve long-term peace and chided Russia over its "unacceptable behaviour" in its western neighbour.
Meanwhile, President Petro Poroshenko said yesterday that the Ukrainian and European parliaments would meet on September 16 to jointly ratify an historic agreement pulling his country further out of Russia's reach.
Poroshenko also told an international conference in Kiev he hoped to secure a "special status" for Ukraine with the US during his visit to Washington next week when he will meet President Barack Obama and deliver a keynote address in Congress.
Barroso said after talks in Kiev with Poroshenko that the week-old truce the government signed with rebel leaders and Russia in the Belarussian capital Minsk "is certainly a positive step which needs to be upheld and respected".
"However, it is still insufficient to guarantee sustainable peace," he told reporters.
Barroso spoke shortly after the European Union applied its toughest sanctions to date against Russia over its alleged involvement in the pro-Kremlin uprising that has been convulsing Ukraine's industrial east for the past five months.
"While we are committed to reaching out and seeking a negotiated solution, we also do not hesitate in responding decisively to Russia's unacceptable behaviour," he said.